It's obvious from the very first caipirinha, mixed by Daniel Boulud with Leblon cachaça, sugar and fresh lime, that the French star of the New York food scene is a raging Brazilophile.
The setting for this Brazil-themed party is the Brooklyn studio and home of acclaimed artist Vik Muniz: a light-flooded converted warehouse with glass cases of vintage cameras, mod furniture and a verdant, semitropical garden. To go with the cocktails, Boulud and his team are passing bolinhos de bacalhau, deep-fried croquettes of salt cod and potato, a Brazilian bar snack. One might expect Boulud, one of the world's most respected classical French chefs, to turn up his nose at such a humble dish, but no, he is doing full justice to this good, honest food.
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Muniz was raised in São Paolo, so it's not so surprising that he is enthusiastic about the bolinhos. But he is less fond of the elegant stemware Boulud has brought for serving the caipirinhas. "Expensive bars use these fancy glasses," he says. "But normally, at Brazilian bars, you get a caipirinha in a wide glass called a copo Americano. It's one of my favorite things about Brazil and design." In fact, Muniz recently convinced the design store at Manhattan's Museum of Modern Art to stock the glasses. The museum itself has been collecting Muniz's artwork since the late 1990s.